Scientists offer faster test to detect fake Tamiflu

April 8th, 2008 - 10:29 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Apr 8 (ANI): Chemists in Georgia have announced the development of a new and faster method to identify fake Tamiflu, the medication for preventing and treating bird flu.

The new method known as Desorption Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometer (DESI-MS) has the potential to detect counterfeit Tamiflu drugs 20 times faster than current methods.

Tamiflu has become a target for counterfeiters after the recent outbreaks of bird flu and increased public demand for supplies of the antiviral drugs in case of an epidemic of the deadly disease.

Its a one-step process that doesnt require any extensive sample preparation, said Facundo M. Fernandez, of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The DESI-MS analysis of the Tamiflu powder can yield results in less than one minute.

The gold standard for gauging pharmaceutical quality control is a powerful but much slower method called high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), he said.

This method is really targeted at screening large amounts of products that might be expected during a pandemic of influenza. In case of a crisis, you wouldnt be able to wait an hour per sample. Youd want to screen hundreds of samples per day, he added.

Fernandez tested DESI-MSs effectiveness by collecting different Tamiflu samples from online pharmacies and found all of them to contain the active ingredient.

Customers who purchase from online pharmacies have to be cautious, Fernandez said.

What you get online can be pretty much anything. Its very easy for the counterfeiter to bypass the system thats in place to protect the consumer. And its very easy for the consumer to get medications, he said.

Fernandez believes that they would be able to solve the problem of fake Tamiflu.

I think its possible to shut down this traffic, but it will require new tools and new approaches. We need to get very creative because the incentive for making fake drugs is huge, he said. (ANI)

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